Blog Archive

Posts, photos, podcasts and videos (2005-2020)

Several Lifetimes’ Worth of (Mostly) Good Advice

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“There’s a basic rule of thumb that I think is called Sturgeon’s law (it usually applies to film and TV and literature) that 90% of everything is rubbish, and isn’t worth bothering with. […] Most places aren’t worth going to, most conversations aren’t worth having, most things aren’t worth eating, most items and objects in […]

Remembering Cafe Coco

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After some 27 years of business Cafe Coco is closing, to be reopened as one of Coco’s Italian Markets. Writing for the Nashville Post, William Williams succinctly summarizes the coffee shop/bar/restaurant/hang as “a Midtown institution of sorts popular with Vanderbilt students, health care workers and random bohemians and hipsters.” Owner Chuck Cinelli broke the news […]

Recycling Lives on in Nashville (For Now)

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I’m trying to place why I find the continued implementation of recycling programs so interesting. Thinking back a little, while growing up in Calgary we had recycling, but the majority of my memories surround the “bottle depot.” These were facilities around town that specifically took glass bottles, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans. When buying soda, […]

Re-Acting

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Do you ever catch yourself acting? I don’t mean being false, or fake, or even pretending in some way. Maybe being honest in the moment, but “acting” with respect to a strayed action or intention—taking earnest, albeit unintentionally insincere, action. Last Thursday I wrote a blog post, which is what has me thinking of this. […]

Descent Into Hell

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A recent article on The Onion is relevant here: “Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive.” “Admitting that a highly contagious, deadly pandemic had done little to stoke his creativity, local man Michael Ayers confided to reporters Wednesday that he wasn’t […]

Montgomery Bell State Park (TN)

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Photos taken at Montgomery Bell State Park in May of 2020.

Letterboxd Film Diary, April 2020

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Film diary and review entries made on the movie social media website Letterboxd. 4/9/2020 Would You Rather, 2012 (Rating: 1.5/5) 4/9/2020 Emelie, 2015 (Rating: 1/5) 4/9/2020 The Ritual, 2017 (Rating: 2/5) 4/9/2020 Gerald’s Game, 2017 (Rating: 2/5) 4/10/2020 Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine), 2015 4/10/2020 The Social Network, 2010 (Rating: […]

Blaming the Lettuce

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“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other […]

Beastie Boys

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Who knows where some seeds get planted, but in the past six months or so I attended a Buddhist temple for the first time in my life. A friend invited me to an open house at his Tibetan temple, and in trying to learn more about Buddhism I took him up on the offer. I […]

Fall Creek Falls State Park (TN)

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Most Tennessee State Parks re-opened on April 24, after being closed for several weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions. Yesterday, for her thirty-fourth birthday, M. and I drove to Fall Creek Falls State Park. There were social distancing recommendations posted on-site, though we didn’t have to be particularly careful in watching out on the trails as […]

Media List #3: Tennessee Pledge Edition

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This week officials carved out the first crack at roadmaps to reopening the city and state. I say both city and state because Nashville is not included in Governor’ Lee’s plan, which has been dubbed the “Tennessee Pledge” by state officials (Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga will also rely on metro-centered plans for their re-opening strategies). […]

Dancer in the Dark

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Dancer in the Dark (2000), directed by Lars von Trier Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or Winner Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Winner: Björk Roger Ebert for RogerEbert.com: “Dancer in the Dark is a brave throwback to the fundamentals of the cinema—to heroines and villains, noble sacrifices and dastardly betrayals. The relatively crude visual look underlines […]

You Can Do Hard Things

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I went for a run yesterday. It was the first time that I’ve done so in two weeks. I felt creaky with my first steps, and that lasted the entirety of what my phone tells me was 3.31 miles of begrudgingly putting one foot in front of the next. Walking the short distance home from […]

Stories We Tell

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Stories We Tell (2012), directed by Sarah Polley Noted as one of “The 21 Century’s 100 greatest films” by the BBC (2016). Stephanie Zacharek for the Village Voice: “This wondrous, absorbing little picture covers a great deal of winding meta-territory, reflecting on the ways in which a single family’s story can be told—or maybe, more […]

Media List #2: Safer at Home Edition

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I’ve been reading through a few long-saved bookmarks the past couple of weeks and one article, Olga Khazan’s “The Opioid Epidemic Might Be Much Worse Than We Thought,” brings to light information that I found incredibly poignant with regard to what’s happening right now. Her article focuses on the findings of a February 2020 report […]

The Sickness of Being Human

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In quoting Albert Low’s Zen: Tradition and Transitions, this morning’s reading of Jean Smith’s The Beginner’s Guide to Zen Buddhism closed out a chapter on the zendo (or monastery) by noting: “The good news is that we are Buddha; the bad news is that all beings are Buddha. The sickness of being human is the […]

The Chemical Brothers

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It looks like one of my favorite stores growing up in Calgary, Soundsaround, shut down in 2012. I have some good memories from that place, specifically the Southwest location where I remember picking up a lot of electronica albums that weren’t available elsewhere in town. In the mid-to-late ’90s this meant acts like Fatboy Slim, […]

Media List #1: Bailout Edition

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Jason Isbell’s Twitter account is one of the reasons I could find myself returning to the platform (update: turns out I did open a new Twitter account amid the pandemic); I’m ashamed to say I probably appreciate his tweets more than his music (which is no knock on his music). Then again, I don’t know […]

Calming the Ocean

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“There are three integral factors in Buddhist meditation—morality, concentration and wisdom. Those three factors grow together as your practice deepens. Each one influences the other, so you cultivate the three of them together, not one at a time. When you have the wisdom to truly understand a situation, compassion towards all the parties involved is […]

Jules et Jim & I Am a Ghost

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Jules et Jim (1962), directed by François Truffaut Carrie Rickey for The Dissolve: “The eponymous characters, Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre), bohemians with money in Belle Époque Paris, are besotted with a work of classical statuary, a woman with an enigmatic smile. When the beguiling free spirit Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), the living embodiment […]

Zeno’s Paradox as Emotional Resistance

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From this morning’s reading of The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow, “Suppose a student wishes to step to the door, which is 1 meter away. (We choose a meter here for convenience, but the same argument holds for a mile or any other measure.) Before she arrives there, she first must arrive at the halfway […]

Hope as an Obstacle

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I returned to the “no gaining mind” meditation this morning, and in it there was one particular section that stuck out to me. “Is there any sense of anticipation,” asked the guide, “or expectation for something special to happen? Any wish to change something? Is there any sense of feeling for grasping for something, or […]

No Gaining Mind

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This morning I returned to meditating, with a recording on “Mushotoku” (or: no gaining mind). I hope to return to this simple meditation each morning this week. While largely guided, it was in the silent period of the meditation that my mind took to the practice of counting my breath, which blended with a concept […]

An Explainer & Elena

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An idea has been eating at me the last month or so about how my viewing habits seem to default to low hanging fruit when I’m not purposeful in deciding what I’m going to watch. This thought has come and gone over the years, but here we are—in quarantine—with a tremendous amount of time on […]

Jack White & Henry Rollins

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I don’t remember the age, but my hunch is I was somewhere in the junior high years, though it might have been late-stage elementary school. Whenever it was, I would ditch hanging with family and congregation members after church to go listen to music in the car. I don’t know why I didn’t listen to […]

Things As They Were

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“Hope offers us clarity that, amid the uncertainty ahead, there will be conflicts worth joining and the possibility of winning some of them. And one of the things most dangerous to this hope is the lapse into believing that everything was fine before disaster struck, and that all we need to do is return to […]

Def Jux, El-P & Aesop Rock

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The other day I revisited some memories of a 2007 trip I made to New York, which brought to mind a stop I made on that same visit to the office of the now-defunct Definitive Jux record label. For the life of me I can’t remember his name, but a connection I had at the […]

Recycling in Nashville (and All of America, Actually) Might Be Dead

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“We like to think that our society is employing every area of human knowledge in order to achieve peace and happiness, but this is not true.” Sometime last year I remember reading an NPR article about how America’s recycling stream had hit a roadblock. Trade restrictions have reduced the number of incoming shipping vessels (mostly […]

Letterboxd Film Diary, March 2020

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Film diary and review entries made on the movie social media website Letterboxd. 3/2/2020 Toni Erdmann, 2016 (Rating: 2.5/5) 3/2/2020 George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy, 1997 3/2/2020 Pete Davidson: Alive from New York, 2020 3/4/2020 David Lynch: The Art Life, 2016 3/5/2020 Cold War, 2018 (Rating: 2.5/5) 3/5/2020 Pleasure Unwoven, 2006 3/6/2020 The Thin […]

Why is My Life So Hard? Or: How I’m Learning to Stop Playing the Victim and Just Be Grateful

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“Life hands us a changing syllabus.” On Sunday I began reading The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I also began through working its study guide. A couple months ago I sat in on a day-long lecture Cron gave, introducing the basics of the Enneagram. The first section of the […]

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